Intranets could create litigation liability

Nearly half of UK businesses and public sector organisations could be leaving themselves open to litigation because they manage their corporate policies primarily on an intranet, a survey has revealled.

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Nearly half of UK businesses and public sector organisations could be leaving themselves open to litigation because they manage their corporate policies primarily on an intranet, a survey has revealled.

The poll of 100 IT and human resources managers at UK organisations in the technology, government and professional services sectors, carried out by policy management software firm NETconsent found that nearly 50% relied on company intranets to inform staff of corporate policies.

But NETconsent warned that managing policy over an intranet offered no proof that employees had read, understood or agreed to the policy. Companies could also be open to risk where policies are not kept up to date with legislative changes.

NETconsent operations director Dominic Saunders said: “The research indicates just how many businesses rely on the intranet to communicate policies. While it is encouraging that companies are using policies to educate their employees and protect themselves, managing them over the intranet might not be enough.”

Using intranets to communicate policies put the onus on staff to read the documents, “but the responsibility should be with the employer, not the employee”, he said.

“Without evidence of the signed document, employers are leaving themselves open to risk. In the event of a breach of policy, organisations need to be able to demonstrate not only that they have a policy in place but that the employee concerned has seen and agreed to the document.”

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